The Importance of the Earl of Kent in Shakespeare's King Lear

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The Importance of the Earl of Kent in King Lear

The Earl of Kent plays a small but important part in Shakespeare's play King Lear. From the beginning scenes to the end we see a minor character that is used to show the values that Shakespeare believed in. Whether Kent is an example of the dutiful servant or plays the intermediary between Lear and Cordelia he is essential to the functioning of the plot.

The role of Kent is important because of the use Shakespeare has for his character in giving the reader an example of what the values are in the play. In Kent the reader sees a man who is loyal to his King but is not blind to the wrong that this King has committed Kent is also able to defend his King even though he has
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Lear no longer wants the burdens of being the ruler he only wants the prestige that goes along with the job. Kent realizes that Lear's" older daughters, Regan and Goneril, do not deserve to rule Britain and that he has made a mistake by giving them power at the cost of his own. Kent sees what Lear can't see. Once you hand your power over to someone your own standing suffers.

The loss of the King's" standing is seen in the way Oswald has lost respect for the King. After Kent has come back to Lear, in disguise, the reader sees the first challenge to the Kings power. Upon inquiring of Oswald where Goneril is. Oswald ignores the Kings request and leaves him unanswered. It is here that we see the lost respect for the King because of the loss of his power. It is in this scene that we see Kent take on the role of protector. Kent forces Oswald out of the Kings presence because of his lack of respect and duty to his King. Oswald is another minor character that Shakespeare uses to build his plot on as well as to illustrate what some of the vices of the time were. He is the negative counterpart of Kent.

We see Oswald again after Lear leaves Goneril to go to Regan for assistance and the treatment he thinks he deserves. Kent is sent by the King to tell Regan of the Kin4s approach and of the lack of respect he has been shown by his other daughter. When Kent meets up with Oswald again, Kent attacks Oswald because of the dishonor he has done to the King as well as the
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